The last in a series of meetings to involve residents in big improvements coming this year to Riverside Park in the city of Mauston will take place Tuesday.

In August, the city held a meeting for residents — including business owners who will be affected by the work — to weigh in on the plan.

“We now have a more finalized design,” city Administrator Nathan Thiel said. “We’re presenting it one last time to make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Riverside Park in the center of the downtown is bordered by Mansion Street on the south and the Lemonweir River on the north.

Planned park improvements include a boat launch, a fishing pier, a band shelter, enhanced parking and playground facilities as well as improvements to Mansion Street.

“Mansion Street will become an actual street with curb and gutter rather than just a glorified alleyway,” Thiel said.

Raising the profile of Riverside Park, in part to take better advantage of the desirable waterfront location, was one of the recommendations that emerged from a 2009 study commissioned by the city as part of a plan to revitalize the downtown.

Thiel said the city has tweaked the plan aired in August based upon residents’ suggestions.

For example, Thiel said, planners nixed a parking lot originally slated for the area now occupied by tennis courts because some suggested that location subtracted too much from green space and detracted from park aesthetics.

“We took that recommendation into consideration and removed it from the plan,” Thiel said.

The parking picture has changed because of a different but related project.

Late last year the city razed the building it owned at 143 E. State St., sometimes referred to as the Radio Shack building after the business that once occupied it, for a parking lot.

State Street parallels Mansion Street to the south and the site is a stone’s throw from Riverside Park.

A wrinkle was added to the plan when the city recently began talks with management of the Juneau County Star-Times, located at 201 E. State St. adjacent the razed building, to sell its parking lot to the city, which would allow the city to create a single, large parking lot from the combined properties.

Matt Meyers, general manager for Capital Newspapers, which operates the Star-Times and other area newspapers, said Friday that he had reviewed the plan and discussed it with city officials but that no deal had been made to sell the lot to the city.

Because the new parking lot on State Street could serve park users and its final size is still unknown, parking is one of the details of the project still to be worked out.

Thiel said construction of the park and the new parking lot, however it is configured, will take place at the same time later this year but could not say for certain when.

“I won’t know the details until we’ve done the bid opening and talked to the contractor,” Thiel said.

While unrelated to a state Department of Transportation rebuild of State Street in the downtown planned for 2015, this year’s project is an important precursor to the DOT work because the improved Mansion Street will be an important detour option during the State Street work, Thiel said.

prebhahn@

capitalnewspapers.com

847-7341, ext. 237

If you go

What:

Public information meeting on Riverside Park improvement project.

Where:

Mauston City Hall, 303 Mansion St.

When:

5 p.m. Tuesday.

Note:

Officials will be on hand to answer questions and take suggestions after a brief presentation that will update residents about the project.

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